Thieves have ransacked a Bay pensioner's home, making off with $40,000 worth of property.
A Ford Courier 4x4 flat deck ute, large caravan, a blue Suzuki quad bike, farm tools, new crockery and bedding - even the tea, coffee and sugar - were stolen.
Waihi farmer Ron Slater is desperate to get back some of the $40,000 worth of farm gear and household items stolen and is offering a reward for any information about the theft.
Thieves cut at least five locks as they forced their way into his Waihi farm sometime between 5pm on Sunday and 8am on Monday.
Mr Slater arrived back at the farm on Monday morning to find his house and shed cleaned out.
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"I'm still finding things that are missing," he said. "They were a serious mob. They had to cut two locks to get into the farm."
The 67-year-old said he and his wife were doing up the house so had new crockery, blankets and duvets - all of which were stolen. Even so it was the loss of the farm equipment that he was most worried about.
"I'm brassed off. It's my livelihood," he said. "I've got to find a farm vehicle to do the feedouts in."
Mr Slater was realistic about the chances of getting his gear back. "The truck's going to be half wrecked anyway," he said.
The burglars would have had to break the locks to get into the ute and destroy the dashboard casing to hot wire it.
Despite that he placed an ad in the Bay of Plenty Times offering a reward for "information leading to the conviction of the offenders" on the off-chance someone could help police catch the thieves.
Mr Slater was convinced the thieves were organised and knew exactly what they were doing.
"This wasn't an opportunity thing. They've planned this," he said. "If they've done it once, surely they are going to do it again."
He warned other farmers around Waihi to be vigilant so as not to give the burglars the chance to strike again.
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Constable Mark Baker, the officer in charge of the case, agreed the thieves "obviously came prepared" since they managed to cut through the locks. Mr Baker said he had noticed an increase in the number of rural burglaries in the last couple of weeks.
"We've only had a couple in Waihi but we haven't had any in a long time," he said.
He said it was essential every burglary was reported to police to help them "piece together the puzzle". "Be a bit more vigilant. And report everything. Farmers have a tendency to be a bit relaxed and don't think of reporting things at the time."
- Mr Slater is interested in hearing about any 4x4 flat deck utes for sale.